Are My Goal Jeans Really My Size?
A few posts ago, I shared some before pictures that were taken this past July at 162.2 pounds. This morning I weighed in at 150.4 and nearing my goal! But what is my goal??? Maybe a little background about my weight loss journey will help answer that question.
I joined a health and fitness website called Sparkpeople in May of 2007 at 173 pounds. I was desperate to get back down to the 145 pounds I had comfortably maintained for a few years. Before that time I had yo-you’d most of my life with my top weight being 280 pounds…had there been a Biggest Loser show in 1987 I certainly would have applied. It seemed my weight would go up and down depending on the stress in my life or the status of my relationship…if the relationship was good or my stress was low, then my weight was down, if things were rocky, my weight started to climb! This went on for years…in fact, when I got married in 1998 I was 130, when I divorced 2 years later, I was tipping the scale at 225! At some point between 2001-2002 I resigned myself to being overweight forever and stopped trying to eat right or exercise. Between 2003 and 2004, I lost my 13 month old nephew to a freak accident and my grandmother to a stroke…I lost 80 pounds during that time and maintained at 145 until some relationship issues set me on my familiar path…next stop, 173 pounds and hating myself for being weak!!! I was very good at beating myself up over my weight…I’m sure a big contributing factor to my stress and emotional issues and ultimately my weight gain.
2007 was a turning point in my life…that was the year my mother was diagnosed with and died from colon cancer at 62 years old! Needless to say, this completely rocked my world and put me on the path to health and wellness! I quickly lost the initial weight…some from stress and grief, some from changing my eating and starting to exercise. I logged and tracked all my food diligently for month and months, I walked every day at first and then slowly started running. My food choices were good for a layperson but I knew there was more to learn. The things I removed first and which I have never returned to are: soda (regular and diet), any products with HFSC or trans-fats, all fast food, and most packaged or prepared foods…no frozen dinners, no packaged rice or pasta, no packaged pastries or cookies, no candy unless it was dark chocolate. I read labels and thought I was making the wisest and most informed decisions for my health. The weight was coming off quickly and I thought that meant I was healthy. In July of 2008, one year after my mother’s death, I was at my lowest adult weight, 118 pounds. I loved being so thin. I loved the attention from friends, family and strangers. But looking back, I wasn’t healthy. I had so little body fat that it hurt to sit. I would have to readjust my position every few minutes of my legs would go numb…that can’t be healthy! At the time, I just didn’t think it was a problem.
During that time I started running organized race. First 5 and 10ks, then quickly moving on to 1/2 marathons. Since my first race in April 2008, I have completed 16 1/2 marathon and 3 full marathons and several shorter races and long distance cycling events. And while that is a great accomplishment, I managed to run myself into a case of ADRENAL FATIGUE by March of 2010. I had my first Adrenal Stress Index (ASI) test in April 2010 which revealed not only adrenal fatigue but also gluten intolerance. At that point, my insulin sensitivity was still good. I think adrenal fatigue is the worst kind of overtraining injury you can have because you don’t know you are hurt until the damage is done.[For more information on adrenal fatigue, please check out my other posts].
Back to 2009 and training for my first marathon…Aside from being exhausted and stressed out all the time, I started gaining weight at the rate of about 2-4 pounds a month. The initial weight gain actually felt good but once I hit 135 I started to get concerned. I started working with a personal trainer/running coach who told me I needed to up my calories and my carbs since I was running and doing resistance training 5-6 days a week. Intuitively, I knew this was not going to be a good thing but I followed direction and continued to gain weight. By April 2010 I was back up to 145-150 and feeling horrible. My sleep was off and I was having terrible carb cravings. I could eat an entire loaf of bread in one day! What I have since learned is that my rapid weight loss and excessive exercising was damaging my metabolism. Add to this being vegetarian for over a year, which had caused me to deplete my hormones and neurotransmitters and you can see why I was a mess.
After getting the results of my ASI test, I made some dietary changes. I gave up all gluten containing products but replaced them with gluten free junk food and continued to eat a huge amount of carbs…I became a gluten free cupcake whore! I would seek them out everywhere I went!!! Needless to say, I continued to gain weight!!! I also continued to train and run, including full marathons in October 2010 and March 2011. In January 2011, I decided to do a 30 day vegan cleanse which I extended to 90 days and through my March marathon. Initially, I lost a few pounds but ultimately ran that marathon at 160 pounds. After a short recovery period, I was back at it…but this time I had joined a bootcamp which a faithfully attended 5 days a week, 2 classes a day!
By August 2011, I had not lost a single pound and was more beat up physically then ever before. I was turning 50 and running on a 12 person relay team and knew I wasn’t at my best! I went back to my nutritionist for another ASI test as well as other lab test. Well…not only had I not done much to heal my adrenal glands in the last 18 months but I was now insulin resistant!!! [For more information on Insulin Resistance, please check my other post]. This really scared me because my grandfather was a Type II Diabetic. That is not the road I wanted to go down. The most ironic part…as a Nutrition Educator, I knew this was likely to happen knowing the amount of sugar I ate. And although it was mostly from whole foods sources is was still way too more sugar then my body could handle. The biggest offender was DATES! They had become my new snack food…10-15 at a time while watching TV at night.
By September 2011, I was ready to make the necessary changes to really achieve optimal health and my ideal body composition. Here is the plan I have been following since for the last 6 weeks:
1) Eat within one hour of waking up
2) Eat protein & fat w/ some veggies at every meal & snack
3) Limit fruit to 1 (or 2) pieces daily
4) No grain or legumes
5) Limit nuts to 1 oz daily or eliminate all together
6) No processed or refined carbs
7) Diary limited to whey protein
8) 3 meals and 1 snack ONLY
And while I would love to comfortably fit into those size 4 jeans, I am going to continue the slow and steady work it takes to heal my adrenals and become insulin sensitive again. I don’t know what the number on the scale will be but in know it will reflect a healthy metabolism than will carry me happily into old age.